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Talking therapies

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Talking therapy, also known as counseling, is used to help treat a range of mental health conditions. It can also help people struggling with various difficulties, including emotional or life events. Talking therapies are when you work with a qualified healthcare professional to talk or think through what is happening and help to understand your thoughts, feelings, or behavior patterns. You work through coping strategies and implement small positive changes in how you think, which can greatly impact your daily life.

There are many different types of talking therapy, with the best one matching your challenges. An example of talking therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which can help people suffering from depression, anxiety, sleep problems, anger, sexual dysfunction, and other conditions. There are also different ways of participating in talking therapies, from one-on-one, with your spouse or family member, group sessions, online, or over the phone.

Talking therapies are usually done in regular sessions, such as weekly or fortnightly, for a set number of sessions, and tend to last between 30-60 minutes.

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To access talking therapies, you can either go through your doctor, who can refer you, or many insurance providers will let you self-refer.

When should I see my doctor?

You can speak to your doctor if you feel a talking therapy could help you, as they can inform you about talking therapies, explain the different ones available and refer you to a provider.

It can be difficult to work out if you are getting better as you go through talking therapy treatment. Your doctor is a good person to be able to help give you some feedback and sometimes use objective scoring systems or benchmarks to assess your progress. Some simple things to look for may be improvements to symptoms, and day-to-day tasks may be easier or easier more often than they were.

What will the doctor do

Your doctor will discuss your current symptoms and past medical and mental health history and explain what talking therapy may be best suited to you. The doctor will keep an eye on how you are doing and whether the talking therapy is helping; this may be via set questions that can be used to monitor your progress over time.


The majority of people are fit for work while going through talking therapy; however, this may depend on the severity of the condition and how it is affecting your day-to-day functioning. Your doctor can help you decide this.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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